Yesterday morning, I babysat for two of my friend’s children, her baby and her kindergartner, while she helped her daughter’s preschool class. Raisin recently read a Magic Tree House book about Pompeii, and we’re doing a brief book report on it in two weeks for a Ancient Rome/Italy day at co-op. So I decided to let Raisin and his friend make a play dough volcano together.
They had a blast. For more than an hour they worked on forming their volcano. They made a “house” with a play dough person inside of it, hiding. We had a book handy so they could see the pictures of what the houses looked like. And Raisin told his friend about the fossilized people they found 1500 years later, underneath the ash. (His friend found that a little creepy, but he too had learned about Pompeii before, so he thought the activity they were doing was pretty cool.)
When they were as finished as I’d let them be (I was trying to get this done before both of the babies woke up!), we put the baking soda in the mountain and Raisin’s friend poured the vinegar into it.
“WOW!” “Cool!” “Why didn’t the house collapse like it did in Pompeii?”
We talked about what a real volcano is, remembering about the earth’s crust, the plates that form it, and the boiling magma hiding underneath a volcano. The real thing was very different from bubbling baking soda! Then we destroyed the house and volcano together. They wanted to do it again, but of course, two babies were waking up by now. We settled with watching the video I’d taken a few times.
It was fun, yes, but I am certain that Raisin (and his friend) learned something together.
When my friend picked up her children, we talked about another play date sometime. Raisin said “Don’t come too early, because we need to do homeschool first!” I reminded him that we had done homeschool together today: making the volcano!
“School was fun?!” my friend asked in surprise. “No way!”
And it occurred to me, as her son found his coat, whining about how he wanted to stay and play and he really didn’t want to go to school, that this is one of the reasons why I homeschool. Because school is fun everyday. We don’t always make a volcano, but we do always have fun. There are inevitably some whines about school, of course, but in general, he likes learning.
As I type this morning, Raisin is on the floor behind me, playing with C-rods as he figures out which two rods equal 18. We are on multiplication these days with our Miquon Red book. But he is enjoying it at the moment because it means a little bit of play every morning.
Oh yes, and there is another reason I homeschool. Last year, I felt strongly that this was what God wanted me to do for my brilliant son. I felt I should not send him to preschool again nor wait an extra year to send him to a public kindergarten. He needed me, his mother, to let go of some of her selfishness and devote her days to teaching him. And last night, when it was my son’s turn to pray, he said, “Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for telling Mom to homeschool me.”
Aw. I must always express my gratitude for that too, because I truly am grateful.